Saturday, December 6, 2014

Librarian publishes two children's books

Motiti Blue and the oil spill by Debbie McCauley (Mauao Publishing)

There have been several educational articles in school journals about the Rena disaster but this is the first children's book that is related to the subject. Debbie has cleverly told the story from the perspective of Motiti Blue - a little blue penguin. When the container ship called Rena becomes stuck on the Astrolabe Reef Motiti Blue had been diving deep for his dinner. When he swam upwards "he found himself in the middle of a black sticky ocean". We're also introduced to a Kaumatua who watches silently; tears of sadness rolling down his face, as he looks at the sticky goo. He then sees something move on a rock - it's Motiti Blue. Find out how he rescues the blue penguin and Motiti's road to recovery.

Written alongside the creative non-fiction story is the story told in Maori (in italics so you're alerted it's not part of the story).  On each double page spread there are also text boxes which give more information about what is happening. For example, on page 15 we find a timeline of what the National Oiled Wildlife Response team do to help the oily wildlife; on page 16 there's a diagram showing how the oil spill affects penguins; on page 20 we find out what they feed the little blue penguins.

On each page there are vibrant large and small photographs. At the back of the book is a timeline of the Rena disaster, a large map showing what parts of the coastline was affected, and a diagram showing how the Rena grounded onto the reef. On page 32 there are extra penguin facts, and a text box on how you can help. Use your q-code finder at the back of the book to go straight to the website.

The front cover artwork - understated but striking - was created shortly after the accident by Elliot Mason. The endpapers show 365 little blue penguins that were returned to the wild.

This book is going to be a very useful resource for the classroom. Social Studies teachers could use it when studying 'disasters' and Science teachers could use the book when looking at the affects of oil spills on wildlife. Children will want to read it for enjoyment too. Young kids could have the story read to them or read it themselves. Older children will enjoy reading the extra facts. It could be used in kura kaupapa schools too, as it has Maori translations on each page.  Tamati Waaka translated the story into Te Reo Maori.

A well thought out book that is packed with lots of interesting facts. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 978-0-473-26869-5
RRP $28.95 (hardback)

Taratoa and the code of conduct by Debbie McCauley, illustrated by Sophie McCauley

Prior to a battle in 1864 between Tauranga Maori and British, a young Maori leader wrote a Code a Conduct for the battle. He wished that mercy be shown to those wounded during the fighting, that unarmed women and children be not harmed; along with two other rules. Find out who won the battle and whether they stayed true to the Code of Conduct. Read how a similar code of conduct was later signed at the Geneva Convention. 

As well as reading about this important piece of history, young readers will find out about other famous peace keepers around the world.

Each double page spread has the creative non-fiction story told in English and Maori. Each page also has several other fact boxes and a central illustration. A Q-code will take you straight to a webpage that tells you more about the book and extra information about the topic. The artwork was painted by 15 year old Sophie, the translation by Tamati Waaka, and Sarah Elworthy designed the book.

Social Studies teachers could use the book when studying peace keepers, and the history of New Zealand. Kura Kaupapa schools will find it a handy te reo resource.

ISBN: 978-0-473-26895-4
RRP $24.95 (hardback)

Find both books at the following companies: Academy Book Company, Arts Centre Bookshop, Books A Plenty, McLeods Booksellers, Paper Plus Blenheim, Tauranga City Library, Total Library Solutions, Tourism Bay of Plenty, Trade Me, Wheelers Books.

Debbie McCauley also wrote 'Motiti Blue and the oil Spill' and when she isn't writing children's books she works as a librarian at Tauranga City Library.

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